By Joe Bruzek on July 19, 2012
For the $130,000 as-tested price of our Mercedes-Benz SL550 test car, the curious-looking button with an image of a box surrounding the SL550 better be a Starship Enterprise-like deflector shield. You know, to create an impenetrable force field against rogue shopping carts at the grocery store or stray golf balls at the country club.
It looks like that technology may still be a few years off. In the SL550, the button is tied to the optional Active Body Control suspension. Our highlighted button’s main function doesn’t adjust the suspension in any way, however, or provide defense against Klingon warships.
The boxed button brings up a display screen on the car’s 7-inch LCD that shows telemetry and information for the optional ABC suspension. The $4,090 active suspension adjusts shock firmness as well as ride height for optimal comfort and handling; it can lower the car’s ride height at high speeds to improve aerodynamics. The ABC’s screen shows the ride height level, g-forces and suspension settings (like whether the SL is in Comfort or Sport mode).
A highly detailed image of the SL550 shows up at the center of the roadster’s LCD screen. Cars.com Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder noted the information wasn’t useful and the graphic was elaborative for simply showing which suspension mode was active.
The SL550 isn’t the only car to have a telemetry display system onboard. The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8’s Performance Pages show similar handling and g-force data. If the $130,000 price tag isn’t enough to impress your passenger, at least the SL550’s ABC display is flashy enough to show off.
Road Test Editor Joe Bruzek covers Cars.com’s short-and long-term fleet of test cars and drives a 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. Email Joe